Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Who writes about E.E. Cummings anymore?

It's hard to find magazines that write about poetry these days, other than literary journals. That's why I like Slate. Sure, you may not agree with the politics, but it has some neat stuff.

In Is That a Poem? - The case for E.E. Cummings the author laments that E.E. Cummings' work has been relegated to "the ghost houses of anthologies and claustrophobic seminar room discussions." I agree. My poetry professors in college refused to take him seriously. He's being treated as an odd-ball, worthy of study because he had such an extreme style.

E.E. Cummings' book Tulips & Chimneys is, hands down, my favorite collection of poetry. The typography was certainly daring for the times, but his themes are timeless. Cummings was able to get away with a lot because so few people took him seriously. The poems are about nature, ordinary folks, love, romance, war, and other social issues. His poetry is still relevant and fresh, even today. The poems have a way of sticking in your mind long after you've read them. For visually-oriented people, they are especially appealing.

Here is one of my favorites:

O sweet spontaneous
earth how often have

fingers of
prurient philosophers pinched

, has the naughty thumb
of science prodded

beauty , how
often have religions taken
thee upon their scraggy knees
squeezing and

buffeting thee that thou mightest conceive

to the incomparable
couch of death thy

thou answerest

them only with


1 comment:

The Holywriter said...

I guess I need to brush up.